to Congress 
March 6, 1862
Fellow-citizens of the Senate,
and House of Representatives,
I recommend the adoption of a
Joint Resolution by your honorable bodies which shall be substantially as
``Resolved that the United
States ought to co-operate with any state which may adopt gradual abolishment
of slavery, giving to such state pecuniary aid, to be used by such state in
it's discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences 
public and private, produced by such change of system''
If the proposition contained
in the resolution does not meet the approval of Congress and the country, there
is the end; but if it does command such approval, I deem it of importance that
the states and people immediately interested, should be at once distinctly
notified of the fact, so that they may begin to consider whether to accept or
reject it. The federal government would find it's highest interest in such a
measure, as one of the most efficient means of self-preservation.  The
leaders of the existing insurrection entertain the hope that this government
will ultimately be forced to acknowledge the independence of some part of the
disaffected region, and that all the slave states North of such part will then
say ``the Union, for which we have struggled, being already gone, we now choose
to go with the Southern section.'' To deprive them of this hope, substantially
ends the rebellion; and the initiation of emancipation completely deprives them
of it, as to all the states initiating it. The point is not that all the states tolerating slavery would very soon, if at
all, initiate emancipation; but that, while the offer is equally made to all,
the more Northern shall, by such initiation, make it certain  to
the more Southern, that in no event, will the former ever join the latter, in
their proposed confederacy. I say ``initiation'' because, in my judgment,
gradual, and not sudden emancipation, is better for all. In the mere financial,
or pecuniary view, any member of Congress,  with
the census-tables and Treasury-reports before him, can readily see for himself
how very soon the current expenditures of this war would purchase, at fair
valuation, all the slaves in any named State. Such a proposition, on the part
of the general government, sets up no claim of a right, by federal authority,
to interfere with slavery within state limits, referring, as it does, the
control of the subject, in each case, to the state and it's people, immediately
interested. It is proposed as a matter of perfectly free choice with them. 
In the annual message last
December, I thought fit to say ``The Union must be preserved; and hence all
indispensable means must be employed.'' I said this, not hastily, but
deliberately. War has been made, and continues to be, an indispensable means to
this end. A practical re-acknowledgement of the national authority would render
the war unnecessary, and it would at once cease. If, however, resistance
continues, the war must also continue; and it is impossible to foresee all the
incidents, which may attend  and
all the ruin which may follow  it.
Such as may seem indispensable, or may obviously promise great efficiency
towards ending the struggle, must and will come.
The proposition now made,
though an offer only, I hope it may be esteemed no offence to ask whether the
pecuniary consideration tendered would not be of more value to the States and
private persons concerned,  than
are the institution, and property in it, in the present aspect of affairs. 
While it is true that the
adoption of the proposed resolution would be merely initiatory, and not within
itself a practical measure, it is recommended in the hope that it would soon
lead to important practical results. In full view of my great responsibility to
my God, and to my 
country, I earnestly  beg
the attention of Congress and the people to the subject. ABRAHAM LINCOLN
March 6. 1862.
ADf, DLC-RTL; DS, DNA RG 46, Senate 37A F2; DS, RG 233, House of
Representatives Original Executive Document No. 69. A joint resolution of April
10 declared that ``the United States ought to co-operate with any State which
may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery giving to such State pecuniary aid, to
be used by such State in its discretion to compensate for the inconveniences,
public and private, produced by such change of system.'' A further resolution
of April 14 ordered the printing of ten thousand copies of the message and
resolutions. Emendations not in Lincoln's handwriting appear in the draft and
were probably made at the cabinet meeting on March 5. Those which Lincoln
adopted are indicated in succeeding footnotes, as also are Lincoln's
``Inconveniences'' substituted for ``evils.''
``Self-preservation'' substituted for ``preserving it's own existence.''
``Make it certain to'' substituted for ``convince.''
``Any member of Congress'' substituted for ``any honorable member.''
``The absolute'' substituted for ``entire.''
The following sentence appears at this point in the autograph draft, but is
bracketed for deletion: ``Should the people of the insurgent districts now
reject the councils of treason, revive loyal state governments, and again send
Senators and Representatives to Congress, they would, at once find themselves
at peace, with no institution changed, and with their just influence in the
councils of the nation, fully re-established.''
``Which may attend'' inserted.
``Follow'' substituted for ``attend.''
``Persons concerned'' substituted for ``owners.''
The following sentence is deleted at this point: ``I believe it would assist us
much in returning to peace, and to all our rights under the Constitution, and
``Afflicted'' deleted at this point.
Substitution of ``respectfully'' for ``earnestly'' not adopted.
Source: Basler, Collected Works, Vol. V, pp.
144-146. [Downloaded 4/27/2015 from http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/.]